The Transfiguration

everything is sacred

Archive for the ‘sound’ Category

Lesson of the Day #2503

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Lesson of the Day #2503

After the band finished its practice session tonight, Laurel and I wandered back into the living room, and I seated myself at Pearce’s sleeping keyboard to plink out a few notes. Pearce came back in, settled onto the sofa and immediately started advising me on how to play, describing the keys without saying what song he was conducting. It was a fun experience, slightly like being told over the phone how to disarm a bomb, but with a sense of delight instead of relief whenever my motions suddenly resolved themselves into a recognizable song.

The ocarina songs from the Zelda games make good teaching tools. They were composed to be easily memorized and played on the Nintendo 64 controller, so they’re made from a limited palette of notes: starting from C, we have the first, third, fifth, sixth and the octave – and that’s it. Working them out slowly gives a nice sense of the relationships between notes, which always feels like a set of murmuring conversations whenever I tinker with an instrument.

We spent about forty minutes on this before I’d realized it, and Laurel was edging toward sleep. Whenever people teach me things I’m wary of drawing on their patience, and tonight I needed both Laurel and Pearce to bear with me.

This was fun, though – maybe I’ll actually be able to juggle both hands on the keys at once sometime.

stumbling storms
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Written by Umbrella Man

July 30, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Posted in friends, music, people

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Band of the Day #2491

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Sugar Pines showed off their phenomenal wizardry at Awaken Cafe tonight – harmonies and bass and lovely melodies, all those fantastic voices weaving together to great something superhuman. Laurel and I, still in pajamas, listened to them practice in the apartment this afternoon, and as they played Laurel said their harmonies feel like a hug.

your voice has a cute inflection

Written by Umbrella Man

July 19, 2015 at 12:45 am

Jam of the Day #2486

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Jam of the Day #2486

I’ve heard Pearce working out some bass lines on his own recently, but tonight I finally got to hear all of the Sugar Pines play together, weaving together some gorgeous harmonies right here in our living room. I did mundane things on the computer and listened to their music; all of it sounded lovely to me, even when they agreed that some phrase or another was rusty.

I love how they deliberate on the particulars of lyrics, bending and twisting each line like strips of wire, trying to sculpt it into something that means precisely what they mean it to in an elegant way. Collective lyric writing is so interesting – I wonder how much of it is made that way, and how much is born from one person’s thoughts.

Music like this is all sorcery, its creation incomprehensible to me, but I’m glad to be here for it.

if I was a different man

Written by Umbrella Man

July 14, 2015 at 12:30 am

Posted in friends, music, people

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Duet of the Day #2155

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Kendra has discovered a hidden ability to accompany her ukulele with the sweet sounds of the kazoo – that buzzing hum, like someone speaking through a wall, as heard over an old radio. The kazoo sounds silly even at its best, but it described the evening well enough.

A little time with friends, and then back to work. These little patches are so important.

zu zu zuuuu

Written by Umbrella Man

August 17, 2014 at 1:39 am

Pianist of the Day #2073

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Most of Pearce’s presence at the keyboard lately has been more code-oriented than musical, but this afternoon he sat down and lilted out a stream of melodies that gave such a sweet ambience to the apartment. I read a book while he played, and the clattering jellies on our balcony sang along while cars rustled by outside.

I really love living with musical people. Something is missing, if only at an unconscious level, when I have to go without them.

my wait is you

Written by Umbrella Man

May 27, 2014 at 12:31 am

Posted in friends, music, people, sound

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Heat of the Day #2047

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Today was our first taste of summer for the year, and the heat was so strong that the house still remembered it long after the sun had given up. Most of us stepped out onto the porch to breathe periodically, but Kendra stayed there with her guitar, back against the warm stone, strumming and plucking away at songs she was trying to remember. We were each attending to our own interests, for the most part – Laurel illustrating for her thesis, Mitch sanding his clay mushroom-cat, and me wading through my book – but all of it was better with company.

I like these folks quite a bit.

sun strums

Written by Umbrella Man

May 1, 2014 at 12:57 am

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Clatter of the Day #2039

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I stepped onto the balcony this afternoon to capture the sound of our jellies clattering in the breeze. I must have startled the wind, because it hushed up the moment I started filming. The silence left behind was soon filled with other phonic creatures bending around the alley – a train calling in the distance, cars whispering down the road, a bird chirping its electric rhythms.

There’s a sense of immersion when you stop and listen like that, as if you’re a forest floor and can feel dozens of different species crawling and bouncing and sprinting across you, leaving each of their unique footprints across your length.

a different kind of buzz

Written by Umbrella Man

April 23, 2014 at 1:24 am

Posted in sound

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